Smugleaf
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Location: Maine

Umbrella Tree

I recently purchased an umbrella tree to accent my bedroom. Some of the leaves, however, near the bottom are dark and sort of curl in, and I have noticed some of the new growth and older leaves branches are bent back so the leaves point down rather than out. Is this normal?

I plan on repotting it as soon as I get paid again, the root system seems sort of crammed in the pot it came in.

suzi-cee
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Hi smugleaf,

I'm afraid I'm kind of hijacking your post rather than answering it, as I'm also having some problems with an umbrella tree, but maybe we can work find the answers together!

From what I understand though, you have to be a little careful with replanting umbrella trees, I think they should be in quite small pots (about an inch of space between the root ball and the pot), but it depends how cramped yours is. Not sure about the other issues though, but I'm sure someone can help.

My problem is that my once thriving umbrella tree (the variety with the smaller leaves, is it Hawaiian?) has begun to drop leaves. They don't seem to yellow or anything, just fall off, and it's starting to really look sad now. I water when the soil is a little dry, and fertilise regularly. The only thing I can think of is that it isn't getting enough light, but it seemed to survive the Finnish winter last year so I don't know why it wouldn't do so this year as well? I currently have it on the windowsill to try and maximise it's light, but all our windows face the same way, and none get direct light at any time.

Is there anything else I can do to try and save the poor thing?

Thanks

Suzi

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Kisal
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It would help if you both would post pictures of your plants. There are several species known by the common name "umbrella tree". It will be easier to give you proper advice if we know exactly which plants we're discussing. :)

[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]Instructions for Posting Pictures & Photos on Forums[/url]
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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froggy
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How much light are both these trees getting? have you tried supplemental lighting?
I moved mine from a northwest window to a southwest and the difference is quite huge... And now'Ive added some fluorescent tubes as well...
The tree didn't have any negative symptoms before, just didn't do anything. Now it's putting out a new leaf almost every week...

As for re-potting it, if it's pot bound, put it into a slightly bigger pot (with a drainage hole) and fill the gaps with potting medium. If it's not too bad, leave the potting until it's actively growing again...

As I understand it, one should also fertilize less in winter, but I can't say if that'd be the cause of your problem.
;)

Smugleaf
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My tree is in my bedroom which has a southwest facing window, and it does get some supplemental light from my lamp at night, I use compact fluorescent in my house.

I'll try to snap a photo tonight when I'm home. Should I take a photo of the soil/roots?

suzi-cee
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Hello all,

Well I've tried my best to get a picture, but I'm no photographer! Hope these help. You can see in one of them the kind of problem the leaves are having, they go slightly darker and then droop, and then break off at the stalk. There are actually three stalks of plant here, and I think it's happening to at least two of them. It's not getting a great deal of light but I'm afraid there's not really an option of adding a grow light. I do have the indoor lights on all day but they're standard halogens so I don't know if that would help or not really.

Thanks for the advice about the feeding, it's obvious when you think of it but I did just feel like I should do something to help it! The odd thing is that until now it's been thriving, in the couple of years I've had it it's grown a good number of new leaves and always been happy. I'd be really sad to lose it, any suggestions?


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froggy
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Location: Toronto, ON, zone 5a

Did the drooping only happen after you moved it?
I've read that some scheffs 'sulk' if moved to a new spot. But it should get over that.
The other thing is, make sure you don't water it too much. Sometimes when you move a plant into a new, more obvious spot, you remember to water it more often, which isn't necessarily a good thing....
Make sure the top of the soil feels dry before watering (search the forum for chopstick method). And always remove excess water from the outer pot it is sitting in, to make sure its roots aren't sitting in water.

The soil looks pretty dense, so when you repot (I'd wait until the plant is happy again) go for a potting mix that will allow fast drainage and more air through it...

Oh, and as a last thought, check for cold drafts, and avoid opening any windows close to the plant.
;)

suzi-cee
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Hello,

Well I just thought I'd report that it seems to be a little better :) I think I was probably guilty of over watering, I've cut back and that seems to help. Also, we've had a week of nice sunny days so it has managed to get some light which seems to have perked it up too.

I got some potting soil designed for these kinds of plants (or so said the man who sold it to me) so I thought I'd wait until it's stronger and then re-pot it and hope that the spring comes soon!

Thanks again for the advice,

S-

Big J
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Wow, umbrella trees in containers.

Down here in Key West we have a non-native variety of umbrella tree that thrives in the sandy rocky ground and gets huge. They grow like crazy.

I'll try to remember to get some photos and post them...just if anyone is curious.

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bonsaiboy
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I will have to agree, it definitely seems like too much water.
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lily51
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Check for spider mites. They love umbrella plants.

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